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Unscheduled Absence in the Australian Public Service

The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) collects data from Australian Public Service (APS) agencies on personal and miscellaneous leave use.

The table below shows personal and miscellaneous leave use for 2015-16. These rates are compared with figures for 2014-15. Unscheduled absence rates for the overall APS have decreased from 11.6 to 11.5 days per employee*. This decrease equates to 45 minutes per employee over the year.

  Average leave rate Minimum rate Maximum rate Average 2014-15 leave rates
Small agencies 10.9 3.0 19.1 10.7
Medium agencies 12.0 6.7 17.5 12.2
Large agencies 12.5 9.5 14.9 12.4
Overall APS 11.5 3.0 19.1 11.6

Similar to previous years, there is variation between agencies of different sizes. Large agencies tended to have higher unscheduled absence rates compared to medium or small agencies.

In 2015-16 unscheduled absence rates decreased for the first time since 2011-12. This result has been influenced by a marginal drop in the sick leave rate.

  2011−12 2012−13 2013−14 2014−15 2015-16
Sick leave 7.8 8.5 8.8 9.0 8.7
Carer’s leave 1.5 1.8 2.0 2.0 2.2
Miscellaneous leave 0.6 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.6
Total unscheduled absence 9.8 10.8 11.2 11.6 11.5

Leave rates for individual APS agencies can be viewed here.

The Commission has developed a toolkit to assist managers to promote an attendance culture and address situations relating to unscheduled absence.

*To maximise data comparability, agencies were asked to provide data on a full-time equivalent (FTE) basis where possible, although agencies were able to report using a headcount measure. Of the 95 agencies providing unscheduled absence data, 11 provided data on a headcount basis. The absence rate is higher when using the FTE measure for agencies with part-time employees, in comparison to using the headcount measure. This is likely to have a marginal effect in most agencies, but caution should be exercised in making direct comparison between agencies.

Last reviewed: 
3 July 2018